Apparently there is a lot of talk about what people have dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque." Because I live outside of the United States I haven't heard much about it beyond what I get from my morning listening of the NPR news hourly podcast while shoveling yogurt and fruit into my 10 month-old's mouth. However recently I've been hearing a lot of strange opposition to the mosque being built and I wanted to chime in with my thoughts.
First of all I should mention that a lot of my thoughts have come from this article. Apparently this guy Douglas Wilson is kind of a big deal but he was a little bit heady for me to know exactly what he was saying. I did gleam some of his ideas about freedom of speech however and after talking it over with some friends these are my thoughts.
1. I'm an American. As an American I firmly believe in freedom of speech. I also love that our government also allows freedom of religion. Now I currently live in a place where neither of these two are freedoms and I have a very good understanding of what life is like without them. Remember our mantra about freedom of speech? "I disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
2. I'm a Christian who believes that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life and no one has any chance of knowing the true Creator-All-Powerful God without going through Him. I do not believe that Mohammad was a prophet. I do not believe that allah is the same as the God I worship, nor do I think Jesus died on a cross to atone for people's sins before allah. As a Christian I do not WANT a mosque to be built ANYWHERE in America. I would prefer that only what I believe to be the One True God ever be honored anywhere.
But I would also prefer there not be Mormons building temples or 'churches' ANYWHERE in America.
That said I would defend to the death the right of the Muslims to build a mosque at ground zero. We cannot have freedom of religion and freedom of speech selectively. They have a right to build a mosque if they can afford it and have purchased the land no matter where their funding comes from.
3. Now having made these two points, I would also like to argue that we cannot say there should be no mosque at ground zero because it is hallowed ground (or whatever argument people are making). The only reason for the muslims not to build a mosque at ground zero is simply because it is RUDE.
These are my points. We cannot stop them. We should not stop them. However we should certainly proclaim boldly that this is a RUDE thing to do and ask them not to do so (but they don't have to listen).
Islam is in a unique position, however, of being nearly immune to being ridiculed for doing rude things (mohammad cannot be portrayed in any way shape or form without someone getting their underwear in a bunch, but Jesus can be mocked mercilessly even by university professors). If a Christian simply says he is a Christian he is being inappropriately offensive in America (take Tim Tebow for example). But if an outspoken muslim group flies airplanes into buildings and kills many many people, then people feel the need to create an argument about 'hallowed ground' because they cannot simply say building a mosque nearby is RUDE.
Which is what it is. It's not wrong. It's not illegal. It certainly cant' be fought on any other grounds than the fact that it's just simply rude.